Coromandel Hikes You Can’t Miss
Want to explore New Zealand’s most epic peninsula? The Coromandel is both a Kiwi and backpacker favourite, as there’s something for those who want to relax on a pristine beach and something for those who are itching to explore. For the latter few, you’ll dig this listicle of the 16 hikes in The Coromandel!
On one hand, The Coromandel has a dreamy coastal side with the famous white cliffs at Cathedral Cove. On the other, there’s lush native forest connected with an interesting network of hiking trails. You can explore it all on foot, which is great for us backpackers.
Discover some of the world’s largest trees, the kauri, which still stands in the peninsula’s forests. You can also hike to a waterfall, see remnants of mining and logging history, and, of course, have a stroll on some paradise-like beaches. Plus, don’t miss the 15 Coromandel Must-Dos.
1. Coromandel Coastal Walkway
The one-way track follows the coastline of the Coromandel for about 3 hours offering unique views of the wild side of the peninsula and its majestic ocean. Getting there is a challenge in itself. Book your transportation at the beginning of the track (and back from the end of it) in Coromandel town.
Location: Between Stony Bay and Fletchers Bay.
2. Karangahake Gorge
The old gold mining gorge is a popular weekend spot for kiwi families in summer and a must-visit attraction for backpackers throughout the year! With turquoise river rushing through the gorge, a huge amount of caves, swing bridges, bike tracks, tunnels and historical relics, it is not surprising that the Karangaheke Gorge is one of the most popular spots in the area.
Location: State Highway 2, Karangaheke
3. The Pinnacles Trail (Kauaeranga Kauri Trail)
The superb 360 views from the top of this 8-hour track comes at a price of a steep climb! Hike deep in the Kauri forest, which made the fortune of many settlers in New Zealand who logged and shipped these giants of the forest back to the old continent. This track will take you back in time when logging made the Coromandel, an incredibly wealthy region.
Location: Kauaeranga Valley Road, Thames
4. Wentworth Valley
Follow the Wentworth River for about an hour and return the same way – it’s as simple as that. Along the way, you will cross multiple bridges and get many views of the famous waterfall. Split the 20-metre high drop in two for a great subject for photography. The track finishes at the top of the falls, but the best views are along the way.
Location: Wentworth Valley Road, Whangamata
5. Kauri Block
This track succeeds to mix beautiful scenery and Maori culture in a 2-hour walk. Starting off almost in Coromandel town, the track quickly rises above the seas offering great views of the water and the land surrounding it. A short path sidetracks to an ancient Maori Pa (fortified village).
Location: Wharf Road, Coromandel Town
6. Pauanui Trig Walk
To get a birds-eye-view of the small settlement of Pauanui, take a couple of hours to tackle the Pauanui Trig Walk. From beaches to coves, it will lead you to a great lookout after passing through a coastal forest. If you are planning to picnic along the way, we suggest Cave Bay, located about 45 minutes into the walk.
Location: Pauanui Beach Road, Pauanui
7. Pit Rim Walkway
This 1-hour walk is a must-do in Waihi! Circling around the rim of the Martha Mine, the track offers a mind-blowing view of the crater created by years of mining. Many signs along the way walk you through the history of Martha Mine. If you have never seen what an open-air mine looks like, this is a unique chance.
Location: Seddon Road, Waihi
8. Opoutere Beach
The large sand spit beach is a bird paradise where dotterels and oystercatchers come to breed. Grab your camera and be ready for your fix of wildlife. The short track is only about 20 minutes one way so there is no excuse to no go admire those unique New Zealand birds.
Location: 10km north of Whangamata
9. Cathedral Cove
Named after the shape of its main cave, the cove is one of the most well-known spots in the area. Its white sand beach and rising cliffs make it an icon of the region. Cathedral Cove is also the main access to the stunning Gemstone Bay where visitors can snorkel amongst an incredible variety of marine wildlife. Allow 1h30mins to go from the parking to Cathedral Cove (and back again). Check out more 10 Unique Beaches in New Zealand.
Location: Near Hahei, follow the many signs.
10. Square Kauri Walk
The very short track (or stairs should we say) leads to one of the strangest trees in the area. The massive kauri is square-shaped. Estimated to be around 1,200 years old, the tree has a trunk in an almost perfect geometric shape. (Find out more at Why is New Zealand so Fascinated with Kauri?)
Location: Tapu Coroglen Road, Waiomu
11. Orokawa Bay Walk
If the popular Waihi Beach is not enough for you, keep on walking to the sheltered Orokawa Bay. Almost always empty, the bay is a small isolated slice of paradise in the popular touristic region. If you fancy a waterfall, follow the nearby track to William Wright Falls. Reaching the beach will take you about 1 hour and an extra 30 minutes to walk to the falls.
Location: North of Waihi Beach
12. Mt Paku
When visiting Tairua, you will find the best views of the surroundings after taking half an hour to climb Mt Paku. Almost denuded of its vegetation, Mt Paku offers a great panorama of the area on every angle. There are a few signs around the lookout that will tell you more about the history of the area and help you orientate yourself.
Location: Tirinui Crescent, Tairua
13. Broken Hills
The hills feature many tracks ranging from 30 minutes to 3 hours. Take an afternoon to explore the young forest, call it a “regenerating forest”, that is still scarred from its past gold mining history and kauri logging. You will find artefacts testament of that past along almost every track.
Location: Morrisons Road, Pauanui
14. Waiomu Kauri Grove
Amongst a thick population on nikau tree ferns, the 2 hours Waiomu Kauri Grove Track will lead you through streams and old mines to an impressive kauri stand. Make sure to pack waterproof shoes as the streams are not easy to avoid. (It is best to just pass through them).
Location: Waiomu Valley Road, Waiomu
15. Tairua History Trail
The trail takes visitors to 20 locations highlighting the history of the town. History trails or heritage trails can be found in most cities in New Zealand and are a great way to immerse yourself in the rich past of our very young country. It will only take you 40 minutes to take on Tairua’s History Trail.
Location: The track starts on Tairua’s Main Road
16. 309 Kauri Grove (Waiau Kauri Grove)
Let’s finish this list with even more kauri, shall we? Almost a symbol in the Coromandel, kauri trees are both a reminder of the thriving past and a magnificent symbol of the green future of New Zealand. Take on this short 30-minute track, if you feel like an easy walk. The track is incredibly well maintained almost all the way paved by boardwalks and leading to another (but still impressive) kauri tree grove.
Location: 309 Road, Coromandel Town